Monday, July 19, 2010

Nature's Air Conditioning...

...looks like this:
...a featureless sky...all gray, flat gray. Seriously, this is a picture of the sky this morning...It's cloudy, but you can't see any definition. The technical name of this natural wonder? Marine Air, an onshore flow...And I was very thankful for it when it came to chase out those 90 degree days that were cooking our fruit to the bush, and our workers to the floor.

But this morning, it was working just a little too well! When I rose this morning, I found the dog curled in a compact little ball on her bed. She cracked one eye open and looked at me as if to say: "What? Is it winter or something? It's colder in here than it usually is when there is snow outside!!" And she was right! The thermostat registered 62 degrees...I was tempted to test if I could see my breath, but decided I didn't want to know. I wore long pants, long-sleeved shirt and sweat-shirt while I ate my breakfast. The coffee couldn't get done fast enough. I warmed my hands on the cup!! GoshOfficial! It's JULY!!

Ah, the efficiency of Nature's Air Conditioning! But I fear we've taken it a little too far when you must open the windows to let some heat in!

 You can't call us "greenies" or anything. It's actually our Dutch tendencies that compel us to exploit these natural efficiencies...That, and the fact that my dear husband is addicted to efficiency, and analysis of the most efficient way to do anything everything! He is highly analytical. I am not...I'm all feeling this, and feeling that, and intuitive...And it drives him crazy when my intuition is wrong, and even more so, when it is right!

But that's another post...a long post...

So -- while we have air-conditioning in our home, we do our best to use it sparingly efficiently.

This means that overnight in the summer, every window that can be opened is opened for the cool night air to come in the house and cool it down. On first rising, all the windows on the east side of the house are closed. The front windows are left open to continue to allow the cooler air in. The temperature is monitored closely, and when it begins to reach par with the inside temperature, the side windows are closed. Monitoring continues, to make sure that the west side windows are closed as soon as the outside temperature exceeds the inside temperature. The air conditioning is set to start automatically when the inside temp exceeds 76 degrees, and it runs then until the outside temperature drops to the lower 70's, and then windows all around the house are opened -- except those that might have some sun shining on them still.

It has taken me years to learn this system, and, in fact, there are many days I don't touch the windows because I'm just not sure I have it right. I'm so devil-may-care in my window opening, irresponsibly opening windows just because there is a breeze, and it feels good. Foolish short-term thinking! I could be letting warmer air in which will eventually heat up the house! Just because it feels good, doesn't mean it's the right thing to do! Management, discipline!! You must have them to exploit Nature's Air Conditioning!

But it struck me this morning, as I sipped my steaming beverage and warmed my hands, that perhaps efficiency isn't everything...That maybe, just MAYBE, we were spending just as much time being uncomfortable as if we hadn't managed the windows so militantly.

But that was heresy...and I put it out of my mind immediately...

And turned on the gas fireplace.


Ridgely said...

LOL!!! I love the description of your "window ballet"! I do the same thing here, all windows open all day and all night unless the temp gets above about 85. Then it's close the back windows and curtains to keep out sun and heat, close curtains in bedroom and living room and all doors for same reason, then open everything up after 11 pm in hopes that the house will cool off enough to air conditioning to help with that!

Tami said...

I have turned on the furnace this July. It was just too cold and I couldn't take it. Keeping the house just right is definitely an art. I think you are doing well and efficiently.

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